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Coaches And Owner Talk Change

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Since the disgusting effort put forth in Philadelphia, all the people in charge around Valley Ranch have been on a campaign of sorts. Much like our new president the title of their message is "change". Change would be good and well deserved within this team, but much the same way I feel about our new U.S. administration I question whether worthwhile changes will actually take place. Both Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips have said on more than one occasion that they will be making changes, but have yet to give any kind of specifics. Now I understand that they are not going to give us details on upcoming "change", but the details that we are getting are extremely vague. Which leads me to believe that the big time changes that I think need to take place will not!

This is a broken and depleted team, both physically and most notably mentally. The mental state of the Cowboys seems to daily become worse. Recently Terrence Newman continued his assault towards the "anonymous" player that leaked their internal problems to Ed Werder. Terrence calls the player a "coward" and does not seem willing to drop this issue. Bradie James got into the act with an altercation the day after the loss with a fan outside of Valley Ranch. This team is crashing right in front of our eyes! The way they played all year is nothing compared to what is happening right now.

Jerry Jones continues to back the coaching staff, Wade Phillips & Jason Garrett primarily. So the duties of resurrecting the mental state of the Cowboys will be left to Wade. I do not know about you but this whole concept scares the crap out of me! Wade is a good coach, and although he denies being too soft, he is tooooooo soft! Listening to him the other day on The Ticket he talked about "change" and how he needed to change. That is good to hear, but after being pushed to get specific I got a whole different feel. He began talking about "more rules and punishments for those violations" (still sounds good right) he then said that he has always had only two rules "play hard, and be here on time" (at least one of these rules was broken by a lot of people all year long). Norm Hitzges (from the ticket) began to question him about fines and how many times he had to fine players for being late to meetings. Wade gives a typical Wade answer something to the effect of " uh well uh just a few" when pushed further he says this "You know sometimes when we fine the player he does not even know", WHAT? WHAT? Can someone please tell me how the hell this form of punishment works? Let me get this straight! "player" shows up late to a meeting, Wade "fines" him, but the "player" does not know he is fined! Why fine the guy? Does this money go into a pot to buy cookies? Why on earth would anyone be afraid to be late to a meeting? It's easy THEY WOULD NOT BE AFRAID! This guy is in charge of rebuilding the mental state of this football team! WOW! As bad as I hate to say it Cowboy Nation is in DEEEEEEEEEEEEEP trouble!


The players on this team did not respond to the whip cracking style of Bill Parcells. Last year being free from Parcells, the players stepped up and played hard for the new coach. Now their back to what they were with Parcells. This tells me that the players run the roost and no matter who the coach is they will decide what happens. The only cure to this problem is a serious change within the roster! Who goes and who stays? People all like to point to T.O. and Pacman, and that may be the right call but it is hard for me to believe that this entire problem is solely caused by one person! This problem or cancer which ever you prefer has been here longer than T.O. has been here. The first two years that he was with the team he did everything asked of him and by all accounts was a great teammate. I think the problem with this team has been and is the lack of players being concerned for their jobs! Fear of unemployment can do great things. The Cowboys top players for the most part are young guys. They have also been given the keys to the ship without fear of revocation. Example Zach Thomas was brought in this off season to push Bradie James. What happened? Bradie had the best year of his career! Last year the drafting of Anthony Spencer lit a huge flame under the rear end of Greg Ellis and sparked him to his first pro bowl! This team needs players that will push the starters. Players like Romo, Gurode, Adams, Colombo, Davis, Roy Willy, Canty, Spears need to be pushed, they need to believe that if they do not step up their performance they will be either on the bench or on the street! The o-line is the most under achieving, undisciplined, and plain out lazy groups in football. If this group had any kind of fear of being benched I guarantee drastic improvement!

The coaches can implement all the "change" they want (rules, fines, beatings) none of this will work until the players actually BELIEVE that they can be replaced! I really do not care what changes Wade makes to the way he deals with the players. I want to see major roster changes! I want to see Romo fear that he may have to change careers and become a golfer! I want to see this offensive line believe that the next false start maybe their last as a Cowboy! I want to see this Defensive line believe that a missed tackle will put them without a job! The gravy train for these guys needs to end and it needs to end now! No more excuses, from anyone. Make them believe and they will respond.


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Dallas Cowboys

LB Justin Phillips Making a Case to Become a Roster Lock With Cowboys

Brian Martin

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LB Justin Phillips Making a Case to Become a Roster Lock With Cowboys

In Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, the Dallas Cowboys arguably have the best linebacker duo in the entire NFL. They also have some pretty solid backups in Sean Lee and Joe Thomas, but the depth behind those four is completely up in the air. That is excellent news for an undrafted LB like Justin Phillips.

The former Oklahoma State Cowboy LB signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent after the completion of the 2019 NFL Draft. To go from being an Oklahoma State Cowboy to a Dallas Cowboy must've been a dream come true, especially for a kid from Pearland, Texas who rooted for America's Team growing up. The dream probably won't be complete though unless a roster spot comes with it.

Surprisingly, Justin Phillips has put himself into contention to earn one of those coveted roster spots. The way he has played in the first two preseason games has caught the attention of quite a few people, which should make it extremely difficult for the Cowboys coaching staff when it comes to making roster cut decisions. Dallas Cowboys Staff Writer and former Scout Bryan Broaddus agrees…

"Justin Phillips is going to make it hard on this staff to put him on the street. Not only is his finish impressive, but the awareness he plays with in pass coverage is impressive. There is no way I thought he had a chance for that interception, especially with this initial step into the line, but his ability to turn and run to a spot saved him."

Here is the play/interception Broaddus is referring to:


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The Dallas Cowboys have typically only carried six linebackers on their 53-man roster these past few years. With four spots already spoken for, Justin Phillips is doing his damnedest to lock down one of those final two up for grabs. That, of course, is easier said than done.

Phillips is likely competing with Justin March-Lillard, who led the team in tackles against the Los Angeles Rams last week and fellow undrafted rookie LB Luke Gifford. Gifford, of course, missed the game against the Rams with an ankle injury he sustained in Week 1 of the preseason against the 49ers. It was actually that injury that resulted in more playing time for Justin Phillips.

If you're doing the math here, that's three linebackers competing for two roster spots. March-Lillard probably has the upper hand right now over the two rookies, but I wouldn't say he's secured a job just yet. That leaves the door open for No. 44 (Phillips) and No. 57 (Gifford).

As much as I like Luke Gifford, and I do, I think the stars could be aligning for Justin Phillips to make it through roster cuts. He's playing really well right now, while all Gifford can do is watch from the sideline until he can get back on the field. Regardless though, it's a position battle worth keeping an eye on.

Do you think LB Justin Phillips has done enough to secure a roster spot?


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Dallas Cowboys

How Kris Richard May Help CB Michael Jackson Make Cowboys Roster

Jess Haynie

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Michael Jackson, 49ers

Cornerback Michael Jackson, one of the Dallas Cowboys' 5th-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, has not been standing out so far in training camp or preseason. But despite the slow start, the influence of Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard could help keep Jackson on the 53-man roster this year.

While no team likes parting with their drafted rookies, it certainly happens. That's especially true for Day 3 players, even 5th rounders, and particularly when a team is as deep with talent right now as the 2019 Cowboys.

The cornerback position is one of Dallas' most loaded. They go four-deep with starting talent in Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis, which leaves just one or two roster spots for the remaining prospects.

Michael Jackson is in competition with veteran C.J. Goodwin and the intriguing Donovan Olumba. Both were with the team last year; Goodwin was a special teams contributor and Olumba was a valuable developmental asset on the practice squad.

So far this preseason, we've seen Goodwin shining on special teams and Olumba making plays at cornerback. Jackson hasn't stood out, unless you count jokes about thin he looks on the field.

In contrast, fellow 5th-round rookie Joe Jackson has been showing up at defensive end. Even if there were no suspension concerns with Robert Quinn and Randy Gregory, Joe Jackson has made himself very difficult to cut.

But despite not having that same momentum or energy around him yet, Michael Jackson may still find his way onto the 53-man roster. And that may have something to do with his position coach.


Kris Richard

Dallas Cowboys DB Coach Kris Richard

Since arriving in Dallas during the 2018 offseason, Kris Richard has quickly gained prominence beyond just his official role as the Defensive Backs Coach. He was working as the defensive play-caller last year and is expected to take over fully in 2020, assuming Rod Marinelli retires and Richard doesn't leave for a head coaching opportunity.

When Dallas selected Michael Jackson in the last draft, Jackson became the first cornerback or safety drafted by the Cowboys since Richard arrived. Given that it happened this year, with Richard's influence clearly high on the defense, one would assume that Kris had a big say in the decision to draft Jackson.

No, Richard certainly can't veto any decision made by the Joneses, Will McClay, Jason Garrett, or even Marinelli when it comes to roster management. But if he has any bias towards Jackson as his first draft pick in Dallas, Kris may fight for the rookie more than someone else.

We're all human; agendas come into play. Kris Richard may be more passionate about seeing Michael Jackson succeeding for a variety of reasons. He may pound the table for the team to keep Jackson louder than anyone else in the room.

That doesn't necessarily mean keeping Jackson over some other cornerback, either. The argument could be to go long at CB at the expense of another position; maybe only keeing two quarterbacks or eight offensive linemen to free up a roster spot.

This is purely speculative, of course. For all we know, Richard could be the first one who loses faith and votes to let Jackson go.

But given the situation and all factors involved, it's more likely that Kris Richard will be invested in seeing Michael Jackson succeed and sticking with the Cowboys in 2019. Hopefully, it's in the best interest of the team overall.


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Game Notes

DL Kerry Hyder Impressive In Cowboys Week 2 Preseason Win

Kevin Brady

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Kerry Hyder

Kerry Hyder joined the Cowboys this offseason on a one year deal, and while the four-year NFL veteran has put up some solid tape in his time around the league, it was hard to project just what he could bring to the Cowboys defense.

Listed at 6'2" 270 pounds, Hyder is a bit of a tweener on the defensive line. Though the answer to "will he play tackle or end" seems to be "both" to this point in the preseason.

As he fights for his life on this deep defensive line, Kerry Hyder had himself a day in the Cowboys 14-10 victory over the Rams last weekend.

Hyder made an excellent play defending a screen pass in the first quarter, reading the play perfectly and reacting quickly to running back Darrell Henderson coming out of the backfield. Hyder also created some pressure on the quarterback, and finished with 3 combined tackles in very limited playing time.

Hyder's versatility is working well for him as he looks to make the final roster. Like a Tyrone Crawford type player, Hyder will be able to move inside and out depending on the situation. This allows the Cowboys to be flexible in how they structure their depth chart on defense, and in how they decide to rush the passer on third down.


A pass rushing package involving Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence on the edge with the combination of Hyder and Maliek Collins on the inside could turn out to be a very dangerous one for opposing offenses to deal with.

Rod Marinelli spoke to this versatility a couple of months ago, showing just how much he values what Kerry Hyder can bring to this team.

"Maybe you adjust him sometime, once in a while – in a one-on-one pass rush situation, stick him over a guard and start to get a feel for it.” - Rod Marinelli

Earlier this offseason, I wrote that Kerry Hyder could end up being Rod Marinelli's next great under-the-radar find on the defensive line. And if he continues to play with the hustle and awareness that he had on Saturday, he's going to make Rod look very smart in his evaluation.

Kerry Hyder is making it very difficult for the front office to let him go. And, at the end of the preseason, I do expect Kerry Hyder to find himself on the Cowboys' active roster. Especially considering how Mike White is playing at quarterback, and how his release could open up an extra spot at a different position group.


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